Namaste yaar! As 2010 dawns, I’d like to offer up some of my favorite films from the past decade. Technically I should wait until 2011 to count a full decade, but I’m doing it anyway. I waiver from the blog’s subject of Bollywood quite often, but here I will try to focus on pure Bollywood filums, no Tollywood, Kollywood, no art house or parallel cinema, only sirf what is what I consider pure Bollywood. Shall we begin?
~ 2000 ~
Up for my nomination were Alaipayuthey (2000) but I disqualified it since it’s Tamil, and this is Bollywood decade in review, not Kollywood. I know it was remade into Saathiya in Hindi later, but not in 2000. I also enjoyed Zubeidaa (2000) and Hey Ram (2000) but those are both too art house, so disqualified! I almost chose Dhadkan (2000) because I love how crazy Sunil Shetty was in that movie. I ended up choosing Fiza (2000) because I like how Karisma Kapoor changes into some acid washed jeans to TCB (take care of business!) and heads to the northern border to go and search for her once sweet brother who has turned into a wayward terrorist. Don’t you hate when that happens? I mean the terrorism thing as well as acid washed jeans.
Plus, the word melodious was used in the film, so that automatically catapults it to the top of my list:
~ 2001 ~
So much to choose from in 2001. My first choice would be 2001 Kandukondain Kandukondain (2001), but alas it’s Tamil, so disqualified. I also loved Lagaan (2001), but that’s an obvious choice. I have a soft spot for the especially freaky and melodramatic Lajja (2001), but it’s not the best of 2001. One of my all time favorites is Chandni Bar (2001), but it’s parallel cinema, not Bollywood, so I choose the fantastic partition drama, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) starring Sunny Deol, Amisha Patel, and Amrish Puri. I can still hear Amrish Puri’s character screaming, and picture Amisha Patel’s character learning how to fold Sunny Deol’s turban.
Plus I really like the tune Main Nikla Gaddi Leke.
~ 2002 ~
Well the clear choice here could be the beautiful Devdas with all of Aishwarya and Madhuri’s lovely dancing, and Shahrukh Khan’s fantastic overacting. And speaking of Aishwarya and 2002, I adored Chokher Bali, but Tagore and high brow Bengali cinema are not Bollywood, so I nominate Shakti – The Power (2002) starring Karisma Kapoor, Nana Patekar, with an extended appearance with Shahrukh Khan, where he bleeds from the mouth like he does so often in films. Nana and Karisma freak out in this film like Amrish Puri to the 10th power, which means it’s ultra dramatic. Have you seen this one? Do you remember the drama? I can still taste it!
~ 2003 ~
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) has a special place in my heart since it was one of my first Bollywood films, but I’d like to nominate Pinjar (2003) as my favorite for that year, since like I said above, I love a good Partition movie, and though it’s nearly a parallel cinema movie, it’s just Bollywood enough to count. Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpai and Sanjay Suri are fantastic, and like all good movies, it still lurks in my memory. Head over to Philip’sFil-ums for an excellent examination of Pinjar.
~ 2004 ~
I loved Veer-Zaara (2004) and Swades (2004) as well as Raincoat (2004) where Ajay Devgan and Aishwarya Rai do a magnificent job, but my rule says no parallel cinema, so for 2004 I offer up Ek Hasina Thi (2004), though nearly parallel cinema, it’s more mainstream Bollywood than Raincoat. I still remember what Urmila Matondkar‘s character did to Saif Ali Khan‘s character, and if you don’t know what I’m referring to, see the film! You can also go over to Bollywood Deewana’s blog to see a slick review of the film.
~ 2005 ~
Water (2005) is a beautifully sad film but doesn’t count as Bollywood since it’s directed by NRI Canadian, Deepa Mehta. The other films from 2005 that stand out for me are Iqbal (2005) and Parineeta (2005), but for my decade review, I will award Ramji Londonwaley (2005) as my favorite. Southie star Madhavan (wasn’t he fabulous in 3 Idiots?), and his charisma made this movie a favorite for me.
~ 2006 ~
If I could choose a Telugu movie for the best of 2006, it would be Bommarillu (2005), but it’s Bollywood, not Tollywood, so nahin! 2006 was a good film year for me; I loved Fanaa , Omkara, and Guru, but choose to mominate the slightly lesser known Taxi Number 9211 (2006) for the fantastic chemistry John Abraham and Nana Patekar delivered in their lead roles, plus it taught me a new word in Hindi: gyarah, eleven! Now if it has John Abraham, Nicki’s blog (Hmong Chick who loves Indian Cinema) will have covered it, DEKH!
~ 2007 ~
Jab We Met , Namastey London, and Om Shanti Om, were my favorites from 2007. Wait let’s not forget Ta Ra Rum Pum…just kidding! :) A lesser known film released that year which I loved was Traffic Signal (2007). OK, technically it’s parallel cinema since it’s directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, but I love Kunal Khemu and Konkona Sen Sharma‘s work in the film, so it won! Read more about the film HERE at Ajnabi’s blog, Paisa Vasool.
~ 2008 ~
Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008 ) is compelling and thought-provoking, while Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) is a sweet, feel-good, Bollywood film on the other end of the spectrum and I loved them both. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fresh style of Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na (2008) and the award-winning lush epic, Jodhaa Akbar (2008). For 2008, I will call Ghajini (2008) the best of the best. Maybe I’ll do a post one day to tell you all the reasons I enjoyed Ghajini, but if you’re reading this blog, no doubt you’ve probably already seen the film and know how spectacular it is. It has all the key ingredients of a great Bollywood film: orphans, mistaken identity, super evil bad guys, parking ramp fights, flash backs, unrequited love, mental illness, organ harvesting, A. R. Rahman soundtrack, fantastic acting, and of course a scene with balloons and a birthday cake! Huppy burday to ewe, Huppy burday to ewe…
~ 2009 ~
Dosto, finally we come to 2009! What a filmi feast we have had this year. Magadheera (2009) the epic blockbuster would win my nomination, but it’s Telugu language is not Hindi, na? I saw this in the theater without subtitles and it still was my favorite of the year. I have a friend who also speaks no Telugu who saw it in the theater 4 times, THAT’S how great it is. I you’re interested in Magadheera, read what Post-Punk Cinema Club said about it HERE. Billu Barber was so sweet and fun, Kaminay (2009) was a fabulous film, but too parallel cinema to be pure Bollywood. And let’s not forget Kambakkht Ishq, just kidding. I’m fresh off seeing the smashing 3 Idiots, which I think is going to be considered the best Bollywood film of 2009 with reason, but I will instead chose Delhi 6 (2009) for my favorite. The gorgeous music and breathtaking scenes of Delhi were absolutely wonderful, and the plot twists were unconventional. I particularly enjoyed all the Ramayana references throughout the film as well as the metaphysical messages. Delhi 6 still resonates in my mind, for its beautiful layered, often spiritually uplifting messages about how we should relate to each other. Read Darshit’s insightful review of Delhi 6 HERE. Now I’ll leave you with one of the beautiful and uplifting songs from the film, Masakali, with playback singer Mohit Chauhan, and music by A.R. Rahman, of course:
Here are other Bollywood bloggers lists of best and worst of 2009 or of the decade: TheBollywoodFan; Apni East India Company; So They Dance; Filmi Girl. If I missed you let me know and I’ll link you in. Happy Hew Year! See you next year dosto!